War at Sea by Ken Smith

Seventy years. Yes, it has been 70 years – practically an entire generation – since the end of WWII and, as well, the end of the Battle of the Atlantic. A battle that started just a few hours after the declaration of war in 1939 and ran until the cessation of hostilities in 1945, thus making it the longest-running battle of WWII. At the end of it all, Canada’s Navy which started with just a few small, aging ships, was the third largest navy in the world, surpassed only by Britain and the U.S.… Continue reading

The Little Book of New Brunswick by Brian Atkinson

I thought it would be easy to review a book made up of photographs, but I soon found it is not so easy! Well, it is not all photographs since we have a two-page preface written by the author/photographer Brian Atkinson whose other works include New Brunswick’s Covered Bridges, Fantastic New Brunswick, and Fredericton.

The book itself has 75 beautifully reproduced colour photographs spread over its 80 pages, and while not the size of a ‘coffee-table’ book (it is more of an end-table book size), it is the perfect size to give (or get) as a souvenir of this picturesque province (famously referred to as the “picture province”).… Continue reading

Seasons of Discontent by Raymond Fraser

Seasons of Discontent (2015, Lion’s Head Press) is Raymond Fraser’s thirteenth work of fiction by this prolific New Brunswick author. It could also be subtitled “The Continuing Adventures of Walt Macbride” since it features the recurring semi-autobiographical character Ray’s readers have met before in such novels as The Bannonbridge Musicians and In Another Life, just to mention two. In fact, “Seasons” expands upon Part Three of In Another Life (“The Mid Sixties and Beyond”).… Continue reading

Letters Home: Maritimers and the Great War, 1914-1918 edited by Ross Hebb

This is a real gem of a book and one that any Canadian interested in WWI would enjoy to read; Maritimers especially since all the letters are from soldiers (and a nurse) from Atlantic Canada. Ross Hebb has done a masterful job of editing, collecting and categorizing quite a number of private letters donated by family members to create this insightful, at times entertaining and thoughtful book.… Continue reading

From Old Hollywood to New Brunswick by Charles Foster

After reading this book (it only took a few hours; it is that fascinating and breezily written), I couldn’t help think of a quote from the Joseph Conrad novel The Rescue in which Edith Travers says to herself after Captain Tom Lingard has related all the imminent dangers of the island near where her yacht has grounded. She thinks: “Can all these things be possible? No – but they are true.”

The entire time I was reading this book I was in disbelief at all the things that figuratively fell into Mr.… Continue reading

New Brunswick: An Illustrated History by Ronald Rees

Being fairly new to New Brunswick (I moved here in 2008), I really didn’t know much about its history despite growing up only one province away in Ontario. I had visited here once before in the 80’s on a camping trip to the east coast, but other than that, NB was virtually unknown to me. Hence, I was on the lookout for a book on its past.… Continue reading